Thursday, September 23, 2010

Clawing back to equilibrium

Equilibrium I've made no secret of the fact that the past several months have been rough for me. Although I don't talk about it much (it's not our way, after all, in my family), those closest to me know just how rough.

With my Dad's death, it was like something fundamental changed for me and in me. I've always been one to find the joy in little things, and I was dismayed to find that I had lost that. I honestly didn't know if it was gone for good, or if it was just taking a hiatus. I'd lost my joy. This was especially hard for me to process, because one of the very best things I got from Dad was the ability to find the joy in little things. In losing Dad, did I lose that, too? That would be almost unbearable.

It's taken me a while, but I'm happy to report that I am slowly but surely making my way back to that point. I find myself looking around with an eye and an attitude more like the one I used to have. Maybe it's knowing that summer is over, so I'm more inclined to enjoy the last of the warm weather. That's part of it, anyway. I find that I'm more connected to my surroundings.

The hummingbirds are still here, but only the females. The males leave first, so it's just us girls right now. The females are very active at the feeders, and I'm certain that I see their tiny bodies plumping up a bit for their long flight south. I made the nectar extra sweet this time of year so that they can bulk up.

The deer are starting to spend a lot of time in the back yard; the three fawns that I saw this summer have lost their spots. One fawn had a bum leg the other day, and I could see a bloody wound on its shoulder. I don't know if it made it. I hope so.

The raccoons are still coming up on the deck, but not nearly as much. They like to leave me "presents," but a spray is helping to deter them from that. However, when I walked out the door to get the mail this morning, one had left a lovely deposit for me on the steps. As I scraped it off with a stick, I believe I said, "Oh, you little bastard." But I laughed a bit, this point, I think they're just messing with me.

Chip or Dale2The little guy I call Piney Squirrel has been coming up on the deck a lot. He makes me laugh. He's like a miniature squirrel on speed.

The chipmunks I call Chip and Dale have also been coming up on the deck, and I've seen them come right up to the screen and put their little hands (paws?) on it, looking in. They live under the steps where the raccoon took a shit, and when I walk out to the mailbox, I look for acorns to leave for them on the steps. It's fun to see the acorns vanish. :)

I was getting ready to hop in the shower yesterday, and the power went out. After several cell calls to the power company, I found out that there had been a car accident that took out a utility pole. Several components needed to be replaced, including the pole itself, and the result was that I spent over seven hours without power. That was seven hours to read, and I enjoyed getting caught up. I finished my book club book, Kim by Rudyard Kipling. Thank goodness, because it was a struggle to get through that one. I was not engaged at all. Then I went through a couple of issues of Time, although I didn't read every article. Then I read a bit in a mini-encyclopedia about American history, specifically the early explorers. Next I started on True Compass, Ted Kennedy's autobiography. I'm really enjoying it so far (I'm about 90 pages into it). I was really struck by something he wrote in the prologue, when he was talking about finding out that he had a brain tumor. He wrote, "I respect the seriousness of death—I’ve had many occasions to meditate on its intrusions." You certainly did, Senator. That kind of choked me up.

Fawn 2009 Anyway, it was nice to sit quietly for several hours (although I would definitely have preferred to have power) and just enjoy my reading. In general, I'm in a more peaceful place. I still have moments of unreasoning and unreasonable anger. For example, apparently the pastor at Mom and Dad's church mentioned in a service what the church did with some of the money contributed in Dad's name. My initial, furious thought was, "Gee, that's great about your new communion service, but all in all, I'd prefer to still have my Dad here." Illogical and unfair? Probably. I don't care. I have a shorter temper than I used to, with little to no patience for fools. I don't let it out very often, though. I'm starting to do better with being around people. I'm pretty insular, anyway, but I had a hard time being around most people, laughing and having fun. I knew I'd get that back—I like to laugh too much to have it be gone forever!

Mostly I'm just trying to find my Happy Place™, and I think I'm starting to get back there. One of the things that I got from Dad—and I even spoke about this at his funeral service—was a love of nature. We talked about it often, and I know he was pleased to share that with me. I suppose it's only fitting that that is one of the main things that is bringing me back.


  1. It's good to have those memories Beth. Cherish them, cuz that's what will get you through. You know I struggle with this's hard to find joy in things sometimes...I feel like im "betraying" my mom in some weird way. I know she wouldn't want me to mourn forever....she would HATE that! So relish those memories...and all of the nature around you.

    love your photos too.

  2. I am glad that you are reaffirming yourself. And looking at nature for what it is a gift to us. Even in your voice, I hear wisdom and compassion. Thanks for the post!

  3. I went through a similar time after my mother passed away, and wondered if I would ever feel "normal" again. But then I realized there is no such thing as normal, and there is no such thing as a normal way to mourn and grieve.
    I had to do it my way, by myself, and work my way through it to the other side. But I did so knowing that there was an other side, and that Mom would want me there.
    Glad to hear you're coming through. That's how your Dad would want it.

  4. I sometimes think about all these horrible things I have to look forward to in life. Bad habit to have, I know. Anyway, they haven't happened yet, but I know they will. I am sometimes scared that I won't be able to get through them. This post gives me hope. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Nice to have you coming back. It is hard to go through this, I know.

  6. Hi Beth,
    You've been going throuh a tough time but it sounds like the worst is behind you ... I'm glad to hear you're doing better!

  7. I'm so glad to see things turning around for you. I bet your Dad is giving you a little extra helping hand right now (from wherever he is) - watching over you and helping to guide you through this rough patch.


  8. Beth, I've not lost a parent yet so I can't say I know how you feel. But I would imagine it would have been unhealthy for you to have felt any other way than you've been feeling. I'm glad you're finding your way back to you. I think of your loss often and have wondered how you've truly been doing. If warm and good thoughts could heal a broken heart your would have been healed long ago.

  9. Beth you have had a hard time lately ~ but I hope and pray things are now getting easier for you ~ Ally x

  10. When we plug in to nature we can't help but smile.
    I smiled all the way through your entry. Especially when you were left the 'present' on the steps. There's nothing better at keeping your thoughts focused than dealing with 'shit'. lol
    Jeanie x

  11. Stay connected to life around you and the blues can't settle in for too long...and it looks like there is a lot to connect with around you!

  12. Beth, the fire inside of you and the humor that crowns you are indestructible.

  13. Rudyard Kipling's "Kim"? No wonder you're down in the dumps. (Sorry, couldn't resist.) In truth, I have every confidence that you will come through this bad period, with the help of those little critters in your yard, your bright and intelligent spirit, and mostly those wonderful memories of your father.

  14. Beth, I think DB says it all... so I will shut up LOL...
    Love Ya,

  15. Grief goes through us. It leaves changes, but, if we are relatively normal, our essential selves usually survive and emerge again. I find I'm grateful for the distractibility of my brain, because it saved me from unrelenting grief. And I'm with you: nature brings us quietly right into the present moment and blesses us with wonder.

  16. I had a lot of personal, distressful things going on when your dad passed & I doubt I even offered my empathy. I am very sorry for that huge omission.

    Beth you are a smart, funny, compassionate woman(no sapphic implications on my part, really
    :-). So many questions, esp with love & death have no 100% "true" answers, no so very many things we tell ourselves we need.

    You may not get what it seems like you need, but you will get what you actually need. You'll come out on top, just as your dad would want.

  17. Beth, I had similar feelings when I lost my Mom eight years ago. She and I were very good friends. She was the sun to me; she was a source of light. It was like the source of life had set the day she died and it didn't come back for a very long time. Glad to see you sun is coming up over the horizon.:)


I'm funny how, I mean funny like I'm a clown, I amuse you?